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Homemade Grape Juice

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From Concord grape vines that are over 70 years old, this is the best grape juice I've ever had! This particular batch was made last Friday.

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ElvisBanana

@dondi

Sometimes the grape juice is almost too strong, and a little water to dilute it works great. Not only doest it temper the intensity of the grape flavor, it also stretches out the finite supply of juice. That's a win/win in my book!

One of my favorite pies of all times uses rhubarb, but it's NOT strawberry-rhubarb. It's RASPBERRY-rhubarb! I can't even begin to describe how amazing that combination is. I have to admit, I prefer raspberries to strawberries, so I'm sure that makes a difference. Don't get me wrong, I love strawberries, too. Strawberry-rhubarb pie is wonderful, but substitute the raspberries for the strawberries and it's out of this world!

I don't have a clue about rhubarb juice. I know that in pies, you usually find small chunks of rhubarb. I think it's a little tough for the steamer, but that's just a guess. My other thought is that it's not so much juice as it is a tea. Soak or simmer the rhubarb in a small amount of water, then boil down to concentrate. Other than that, I suppose you could use the same press that you use for apples. Perhaps your sister knows more about it...

dondi

Yes, Concord grapes are the only grapes I like, and all I'd consider. I'll have to investigate whether anyone around here grows them. We didn't maintain our vines, but they do grow wild around here in places. My mother's raspberries, along the garden, and which used to provide lots of fruit, have retired - I guess they need to be replanted every 4 years. Our rhubarb patch is thriving, though, and I should start putting up rhubarb sauce routinely next spring - it makes a nice addition to my apple-based fruit compote, and would be good in pies. I've never tried rhubarb juice, but my sister likes it; I wonder if this juice steamer would work for that?

I was a little surprised by the process of steaming. I'd have thought that would water down the juice, but apparently the result is fine. I do put up my own marinara sauce, and it's easy to grow lots of tomatoes, so I might investi\gate tomato juice.

ElvisBanana

@dondi

I'm not really sure how well the steamer juicer would work for apples. I suspect it would work a little, but not very well. With grapes, the steam causes the fruit to swell up and burst, releasing its juice. It's POSSIBLE that the cells of an apple would burst, but I suspect you'd get better results from a traditional press. The steamer would work well for tomatoes, and probably citrus fruits, too. My suggestion is to imagine a fruit getting overloaded with water. Would it burst? If so, the steamer should work just fine.

Homemade apple juice and/or cider is fantastic! I'm partial to the grape juice myself, but I'd drink fresh-pressed apple juice any day of the week. Combining it with just about any other juice would be delicious. Some varieties of apples are so sweet that they taste better when combined with apples that are more tart, or juices like rhubarb or cranberry. We have a neighbor who presses his own apple juice, but I thought his were a little too tart. When he came over and harvested some of our sweeter apples, the juice had a very refreshing balance. I think finding that balance, which will differ from person to person, is the key to combining juices. Of all the fruits you mentioned, I think I would absolutely love the apple/raspberry combination!

Both our grapes and our apples are very old. The house we live in was built in 1917, and the vines and orchard probably went in no later than about 1930 or 1940. It's been wonderful to have such a bounty, and a real pleasure to consume them. We simply pare the fruit trees and cut back the grape vines. The vines are quite easy, as you typically select a few runners off of the main vine and run them out on wires. Everything else gets trimmed away. Pruning the trees is a little more complicated.

I'm certainly no expert, but if you ever do get some grape vines for juice, I'd suggest the Concord. That's the variety that is used to make most of the grape juice you find in the stores (fresh or frozen). Other varieties are good for eating, but the juice isn't as sweet as you'd want it to be. As long as you have enough space for them, they're not hard to care for. I certainly wasn't around when these vines were mere seedlings, but they're very hardy. We rarely water them, saving that for the heat of summer when it hasn't rained for a long time. Many years we don't water them at all. Toward the end of the season, they get no water, even if it's still hot. Too much water dilutes the flavor of the grapes, and therefore the juice. At that time of year, I always think of an old saying that comes from French vintners, "The grape must suffer!" Letting them ripen in the hot sun without water concentrates their flavors and make for delicious juice (or wine, in the case of the vintners).

So I would definitely recommend making your own juice. Whether grape, apple, or some other fruit/combination, there's something about homemade foods that makes them ten times more flavorful than anything else you've ever had.

dondi

OH, yeah! I'd drink grape juice if I had this - I can't bring myself to buy the commercial stuff. The only trouble is finding the vines. We used to have some, but they're long gone. I take it you cultivate your vines? If I had a regular supply, I'd look for a juice steamer. I didn't know about those, but that would be a plus. I wonder if they work for apples? We have really good apples here, and I put them up with pears, raisins, and anything from rhubarb to cranberries, to provide my daily fruit throughout the year. We can buy cider in season, but I wonder what home-made apple juice would be like - perhaps with raspberries.

brightspark

bringing some cheese and crackers and some green olives too ☺☺

Mazy

knock, knock!

ElvisBanana

Oh, yes indeed!

This year was a bumper crop. We have just a few vines, and there are three varieties. Two of them are Concords, and the other is interlaken (green). We figure there must be two varieties of the Concords because they ripen at slightly different times, and there's a small but discernible difference in flavor. These are from our north-end, and are the most flavorful grapes, in my opinion. We typically get about 10 jars from this variety, but this year it was 22, two of them large jars. So we decided only to make juice from the "north end" grapes.

As you see, there's plenty to share, so just drop by and try some!

Mazy

I am RIGHT behind you sparkie! Look out EB. Hope you canned LOTS!

sparklightie

yay finally got to solve this - it was delightful and i am on my way xxx cheers xxx

ElvisBanana

Salute! Cheers! Le'Chaim xxx

sparklightie

Thx for your offer dear friend .... would love to meet you and do a Salute! Cheers! Le'Chaim xxx

ElvisBanana

Oh, yes. Manischewitz wine is made from Concord grapes. I'm no wine drinker, but most people think these grapes are too sweet to make a good wine. However, if a person is accustomed to Manischewitz, wine from these grapes would be good.

Regardless of their suitability for wine, the juice is INCREDIBLE! I've never had grape juice that even approaches the depth of flavor of this juice. When you convince your husband to travel with you to the U.S.A., you'll have to drop by and try some!

sparklightie

This would be perfect for our Friday night blessing xx shalom!

ElvisBanana

Hi, dear sparklightie! Thanks for dropping by!

I think maybe just "Yum" or "Tasty", since it's only juice. Crack a lid open, then give it some time. THEN it will be ready for those toasts...
: )

sparklightie

Cheers. Sante. L'chaim. Cheers xxx

sparklightie

Looks fruitily delicious xxxx

ElvisBanana

Oh, no, my town is too small for a Walmart, too. There is an empty lot where a gas station used to be, and I was horrified when I heard rumors that Walmart was moving in. Thankfully, that was just small-town gossip with no basis in fact!

No, this store is a regional, employee-owned store. It only exists in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Mazy

heck yeah! especially with heat and something as acidic as grape juice!

Please don't tell me Walmart. It is the devils spawn, I refuse to shop there and support their dirty family. My town's too small for anything like that, thank god.

ElvisBanana

You might be surprised. I live in a very small town. Although we're within driving distance of larger towns, we only have one store that might possibly carry such an item within our city limits. I'll give you one guess where we bought ours.

The one thing I would add is to make sure you find one that's stainless steel. Some of them are aluminum, and that's been shown to have some pretty negative health effects.

Mazy

Hmm, not sure I could find one of those around here in time to use what the birds have left for me!! maybe next year, juice sounds outstanding and it is a prolific vine.

ElvisBanana

This might be a better image. It's a drawing, not a photo, so we get to look at the pans with x-ray vision!

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2Foriginals%2F1b%2Fae%2Fb4%2F1baeb439811a603b23b92df8d56370fa.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F501307002246129582%2F&docid=Yx2by4lKsFXAyM&tbnid=qTnlGO94LdOPiM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwiMldXpqaLeAhWCoFsKHfHwAGAQMwj9ASg4MDg..i&w=300&h=296&bih=983&biw=1702&q=steamer%20juicer&ved=0ahUKEwiMldXpqaLeAhWCoFsKHfHwAGAQMwj9ASg4MDg&iact=mrc&uact=8

ElvisBanana

We have tried pressing them, but that always leaves a hint of a woody taste from the stems and seeds. We use a steamer juicer instead. It's a little bit like a double boiler with a pan in the middle to catch the juice.

The bottom pan holds water that you boil and the steam rises through a hole in the middle of the center pan to cause the grapes to burst. The grapes are in what amounts to a colander on the top, with a lid to keep the heat and steam in.

Just a side note here. We rinse our grapes off, but don't wash them with vegetable soap. They're our grapes, so we know that the worst thing on them is dirt. We also know that the steam will kill most other things that might be on them. If we were to use someone else's grapes, we might be inclined to wash them more thoroughly.

As I mentioned, there is a pan in the middle between the simmering water and the grapes. It has a conical "spike" in the middle with a hole on top. That allows the steam to pass through to the colander where the grapes are. The grapes burst and release their juices, which fall into the middle pan. There is a spigot on the side of the middle pan, at the bottom of the pan wall. A hose is attached to the spigot, with a clamp on the end. Once enough juice has accumulated in the middle pan, you get a sterilized jar, place the end of the hose above it, and release the clamp. When the jar is filled, clamp the hose and put a sterilized lid on the jar. Like other canning projects, you have to be sure that the lid gets sucked down when the juice cools off. If it doesn't, you don't have a good seal. Drink that jar right away!

Here's a link to an image of a typical steamer juicer, in an "exploded" view. You can't see the conical spike in the center pan, so you just have to use your imagination. From that page, you can follow the link to the website if you wish. Please note that I'm not recommending this particular brand or model. It just has a good photo. My main objective is to show you what I'm talking about. It might make more sense once you actually see it. You can certainly shop around for the size/cost that suits you best.

One last note, you can probably imagine that this can be a bit of a messy job. Lots of old towels, rags, and/or paper towels to catch the drips of the highly colored (staining) juice are certainly recommended!

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn8.bigcommerce.com%2Fs-ucycv5vmkf%2Fimages%2Fstencil%2F1024x1024%2Fproducts%2F4588%2F6165%2Ffp210lg__60187.1478552086.jpg%3Fc%3D2&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Feckraus.com%2Fnorpro-krona-stainless-steel-steam-juicer%2F&docid=IPiX-ryM5YjvBM&tbnid=QJlIvUyh7yyqqM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwiMldXpqaLeAhWCoFsKHfHwAGAQMwiAAig7MDs..i&w=490&h=525&bih=983&biw=1702&q=steamer%20juicer&ved=0ahUKEwiMldXpqaLeAhWCoFsKHfHwAGAQMwiAAig7MDs&iact=mrc&uact=8

Mazy

I have Concord grapes! how do you make it?

ElvisBanana

Thanks, spaklies. You're right, the grapes are lovely. The flavor is amazing. This juice is steamed, so it doesn't have the woody flavors that can leach into the juice from the vines when clusters are smashed. The only problem I ever have with this juice is that it is somewhat concentrated, so it can be strong. A small addition of water fixes that right up, and makes the juice last longer, so it's really not a problem at all!!!

spaklies

Looks lovely grapes are a beautiful colour xx cheers xxxx xx

ElvisBanana

Mange tak, ellinge!

ellinge

hvor ser det dejligt ud!!

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